Your liver is the first major line of defense against disease, high cholesterol, and even obesity. In an age of polluted water and air, combined with diets full of refined foods and chemicals, there has been no more critical time than now to ensure our largest vital organ is running at it’s highest level of efficiency. Our blood is filled with toxins and tired cells all waiting for the liver to cleanse them from the body – or not. For thousands of years we have been using herbs to cleanse our liver but in all of our modern brilliance, many have chosen to embrace western medicine instead of the wisdom of the ancients. Let us take a look at a few of these herbs and methods to maximize the liver’s ability to detox our bodies.
Dandelion, and specifically dandelion root is a classic bitter that increases bile production. Bile is needed in order to break down fats and toxins and then releases them into the digestive tract and eventually cleanses them from the body entirely. This makes the liver work much more efficiently because it can now focus on fine-tuning the blood, instead of working to remove more harmful materials. When taking dandelion root consider using extracts instead of capsules because the absorption of liquids is much more efficient.
2. Artichoke Leaf
Another bile producing bitter, artichoke leaf is also known to improve digestion, lower cholesterol, and has diuretic properties. Containing a large amount of flavonoids, artichoke leaf offers antioxidants that aid in protecting the liver and other vital areas of the body. As in dandelion root, it is most often used in extract form and can also be found in many weight-loss supplements as well as tonics used for liver detox.
3. Milk Thistle
Thought of as a weed in most parts of the world, milk thistle gets it’s name from a creamy liquid contained in it’s leaves. Instead of increasing bile flow, it protects the liver cells and even aids in it’s regeneration. Because no side effects have yet to be found, milk thistle can be included as a daily supplement without worry. It is often a main ingredient in many liver detox extracts.
Traditionally known as a Middle-Eastern spice, turmeric is like milk thistle and artichoke leaves in that it contains protective compounds and has been used to treat many types of liver ailments such as hepatitis and jaundice. The yellow/orange pigment of turmeric is called curcumin and is the main healing agent in turmeric. Although it is found in curry powder, you should also use pure turmeric powder, preferably organic, as there is only a fraction of curcumin in curry.
Also known as “Hare’s Ear”, bupleurum is one of the most important herbs found in Chinese traditional medicine. It’s main function, in regards to the liver, is to help remove the unhealthy fats from the body. It does this by relieving tension in the liver and also aids digestion which in turn helps ensure regular bowel movements.
Short for methylsulfonylmethane, MSM is just a scientific name for an organically occurring sulfur found in all natural foods. Sulfur based amino acids like glutathione provide the liver with detoxifying enzymes and antioxidants. This type of detox flushes toxins through the sweat glands so lessens the livers work load.
7. B Vitamins
B vitamins act to decongest the liver and break down fats. Because it would take large amounts of foods high in B-vitamins, supplements are often needed in order to be effective in providing the liver with enough support. B-6, which is needed to produce lecithin(aids in fatty livers) can be found in foods such as avocados, salmon, and brewers yeast.
From breaking up fats and toxins, to aiding in bile production to flush them out, effective herbs have been shown to be an enormous aid in liver detox. Keeping this amazing blood filter running smoothly should be the goal of anyone wanting to achieve vibrant health.